Research has shown that cells in biofilms use electrochemical signalling to communicate and cooperate with each other.
Electrochemical biofilm control is a technology where surface properties or reactions are controlled to delay or prevent cell attachment or to remove existing cells from that surface. Generally, electrochemical biofilm control is applied to targeted surfaces that are electrically conductive and inert. These conductive surfaces act as electrodes where electrochemical phenomena occur. Thus, electrochemical biofilm control prevents or delays biofilm formation through the application of a constant (electric) potential or constant (electric) current that manipulates electrochemical phenomena on the target surface. For example, 316L stainless steel can be considered a good example of a material which mimics the surfaces used in the food industry. By controlling the current or potential of the 316L SS surface, cell attachment and growth can be delayed.
Further reading on electrical charge
Sultana, S. T., Babauta, J. T., & Beyenal, H. (2015). Electrochemical biofilm control: a review. Biofouling, 31(9-10), 745–758. https://doi.org/10.1080/08927014.2015.1105222.
Calkins, K. Bacterial Biofilms: A Charged Environment. National Institute of General Medical Sciences. 2015. https://biobeat.nigms.nih.gov/2015/12/bacterial-biofilms-a-charged-environment/.
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